The peer review process is the fundamental way that NIH, NSF and other granting agencies assess the merit of submitted proposals.
The agencies solicit peer reviewers by either contacting the Principal Investigators of funded grants, or by self-nomination.
If you are an applicant seeking funding and want insight into the review process to increase your own chances of success, go ahead and nominate yourself as a reviewer! Here are the details.
Although the NIH states that they want to recruit the most “accomplished, broad-thinking and creative scientists and experts” to serve as peer reviewers, they only ask that a description of their areas of expertise and an NIH style biosketch be submitted with the application. Likewise, NSF also requests that you state your areas of expertise and submit your CV as part of the application process. The simplicity of this beckons one to become part of their database of reviewers.
In order to get the essential knowledge you need for how the review process works, and maybe even meet the program officer that you’d like to send your proposal to, I suggest you apply to become a reviewer. Oh, and did I mention that you might get paid a couple hundred bucks for this (or at least get reimbursed for your travel expenses)?
Best of luck, and don’t forget to contact The Isis Group with any questions or comments.